EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 4, 2013

Atkinson searches for new selectman

By Alex Lippa

---- — ATKINSON — The search for a new selectman is underway as officials look to replace the late Todd Barbera.

Selectman William Baldwin said the town has received six applications for the position and a decision will be made shortly.

“We are still working on it,” Baldwin said. “It’s been slow, but we’re working at it.”

Town Administrator Bill Innes said Baldwin and Selectman William Friel will have the final say on the new selectman.

He expected that decision to be made shortly.

“It should be nailed down within the next week.” Innes said yesterday.

The third Atkinson selectman’s seat has been vacant since Barbera died from pancreatic cancer on Oct. 11. Barbera was attending meetings and doing other town business right up until the time of his death.

Baldwin said the town is continuing to hold selectmen’s meetings every week.

“The two of us are still able to work on things,” Baldwin said. “We’re still handling day-to-day business and are moving forward. Business has not stopped and we are still getting things accomplished.”

Innes said selectmen are looking for someone who has been involved with the town in the past.

“We want someone who has been on committees in the past or has volunteered in some capacity with the town,” he said.

“Ideally, it would be someone with a business background. I don’t think they’re concerned with someone running a municipality, as much as someone who is practical and with a good head on shoulders.”

But they also hope it will be someone with fresh ideas.

“We aren’t just looking for someone to rubber stamp things,” Innes said. “We’re looking for new thoughts and an objective perspective.”

One thing that remains unknown is how long the new selectmen’s term could be. Barbera’s term expires in March 2015.

“We are still in the process of checking that out with the secretary of state,” Innes said. “They would either serve until Town Meeting this March, or a year from then.”